Multimodal Discourse Analysis

1397 Words6 Pages
The importance of images in mass communication has changed over the years. Thus, visual communication became the key interest for linguists over the past years due to the fact that people often use the combination of texts and images to convey a particular meaning and to promote ideology and culture.
Language is meaning, for how could we speak of meaning except by language – by speaking of meaning. And since language exists before any individual’s mastery of language, it can be argued that we are all subordinated to language, or constituted, as humans, by language. It means we are human beings only insofar as we have language. Norris (2004) mentioned that the most informative content is reflected through our use of language, but images may
…show more content…
These semiotic resources are combined together to create a particular meaning. Moreover, every discourse is inherently multimodal, not monomodal. The main schools of semiotics, all sought to develop a theoretical framework applicable to all semiotic modes, from folk costume to poetry, from traffic signs to classical music, from fashion to the theatre. Yet there was also a paradox. Multimodal discourse analysts stand one foot in the world of monomodal discourse analysis (Reading Images, 1996). Thus, in our analysis, we always tend to concentrate on one modality and when we find all its characteristics, we tend to detect on its relationship with other modes as well.
Norris takes a firm stance against the view that modes are meaning-making units and the assumption that modes are easily distinguishable. Thus, it is inevitable to concentrate on all modes and seek interpretation in their
…show more content…
2.10.2. Three Functions of Language

The linguist Michael Halliday (1994) pointed out that whenever we use language we are always doing three things at once:
1. We are in some way representing the world - the ideational function of language;
2. We are creating, ratifying or negotiating our relationships with the people with whom we are communicating - the interpersonal function of language;
3. We are joining sentences and ideas together in particular ways to form cohesive and coherent texts - the textual function of language.
We use these three functions of language to promote a certain ideology or worldview.
The ideational function of language is accomplished through linking processes and participants together. Participants are portrayed as figures on images while processes are represented visually. There are three types of images:

1. Narrative – participants are engaged in actions or
Open Document